State-controlled banking group VTB expects to close the sale of a 50% stake in Tele2 Russia within two weeks, VTB CEO Andrei Kostin told Prime news agency. ‘The antitrust service has approved [the deal]. We are in the process [of a sale]; and I think that in several days – one week, or maybe two – the deal will be closed,’ he said.
The comments follow hot on the heels of news that the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has cleared two offshore-registered firms affiliated with St Petersburg-based bank Rossiya to buy a combined 50% stake in Tele2 Russia. Earlier this month, Invintel filed a motion to buy a 40% stake in the cellco, while ABR Investments applied for permission to buy a 10% stake in the mobile operator. Rossiya is said to be controlled by businessman Yury Kovalchuk.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, VTB acquired Tele2 Russia from Sweden’s Tele2 Group in April 2013 for USD3.55 billion, including debt. Under the terms of the deal, if VTB opts to sell the mobile network on to another buyer within a year of completing the transaction, Sweden’s Tele2 Group will receive half of any cash profit made by VTB.